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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Hogan, Margaret A.; Reid, Jonathan M. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: New York (5)

VII-D. New York recommends the calling of a second constitutional convention,   pp. 2501-2530

Page 2508

amendments. (See CC:353, 508, 716, 753, 785, 790, 821; and RCS:N.Y,
The concerns of Federalists about New York's circular letter proved
to be unfounded. Only in Virginia, some of whose leaders had been
interested in convening another general convention, did the legislature
react favorably to the circular letter. On 20 November 1788, the Vir-
ginia legislature, led by the House of Delegates that was dominated by
Patrick Henry, adopted a resolution requesting that the new Congress
under the Constitution call a general convention to propose amend-
ments to the Constitution. On 2 December Governor Beverley Ran-
dolph transmitted this resolution and letters from the legislature to
New York Governor George Clinton and the executives of the other
states, asking that they unite with Virginia in the calling of a general
convention. (For a discussion of Virginia's action, see RCS:Va., 1761-
68.) The New York legislature, finally acting on 7 February 1789, passed
a similar resolution. (See below for a full discussion of the action of
the New York legislature.)
The other states spent little time considering the circular letter.
* Pennsylvania. In early October 1788 the Federalist-dominated Gen-
eral Assembly, by a vote of 38 to 24, defeated an Antifederalist motion
to recommend the circular letter to the next General Assembly.
* Connecticut. In October 1788, Governor Samuel Huntington laid the
circular letter before the House of Representatives, but no one in the
House, not even Antifederalist leader James Wadsworth, asked that
the letter be considered. Nor did anyone comment on its contents.
* Massachusetts. On 31 October 1788 Governor John Hancock sub-
mitted the circular letter and New York's proposed amendments to the
state legislature along with the amendments proposed by Virginia and
North Carolina, and the next day they were referred to a committee
of both houses. No further action was taken in this session. At the next
session Hancock submitted the Virginia legislature's call for a general
convention and reminded the Massachusetts legislature that he had
submitted the New York circular letter at the last session. In response,
on 17 February 1789 the legislature resolved that Hancock inform the
governors of New York and Virginia that a general convention would
be expensive and dangerous.
* Rhode Island. Reacting to the circular letter, the General Assembly,
dominated by Antifederalists, overwhelmingly adopted on 1 November
1788 a resolution calling upon the state's thirty towns to consider if
delegates should be appointed to a general convention and to instruct
their representatives to the legislature on what to do if such delegates

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